King Island

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King Island lies at the western edge of Bass Strait, about half way between the north-western tip of Tasmania (Cape Grim) and Cape Otway in Victoria, Australia’s southernmost mainland state. It is situated at latitude 40 degrees south and cops the full force of the equinoxial gales that are funneled between the highlands of Tasmania and the mainland.

It was discovered in 1798, was formally claimed by Great Britain in 1802 and named after the Governor of New South Wales of the time, Phillip Gidley King. Permanent settlement only came about in 1855. The main town is Currie. Dairy farming is its main occupation, especially the production of cheese – King Island cheeses are admired the world over and regularly win prizes in Europe. Beef is also produced and like the cheeses it is highly regarded. Unfortunately, the island's only abattoir was closed in September 2012 and cattle have to be shipped to the Tasmanian mainland for slaughter. Options are being considered.

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